Adult Programs

Conquering Chronic Pain: How a Self-Directed Course Transformed Beverly’s Life

Beverly Reidy shares with us a letter she wrote to Dr Cook after having attended a workshop with Chai, our Health Promoter here at the Cambridge Food Bank.

“Dear Dr. Cook,

 I am writing to tell you all that I have accomplished using the textbook Living a Healthy Life With Chronic Pain and the Toolkit for Active Living With Chronic Pain. I am very impressed with the course, especially since it is using a self-directed approach. The course isn’t just laid out for you to follow along in the textbook but it is directed through our weekly Zoom sessions. We do follow topics but we get in depth on topics that are discussed online and we focus on what is important to the group members. I enjoyed learning about tracking my pain and how to measure my pain but above all I felt it was important to develop the weekly action plan as it guided my routine and was based on my goals for the week. It not only taught you to set goals but to set SMART goals that were action oriented. Our leader Chai, who is very excellent at teaching the course, taught us to evaluate how confident we were that we could achieve our goals. If our confidence level was low then we needed to reset our goal or discuss what was holding us back.

We learned about healthy eating and the importance of weight management in controlling our pain. I found that reading the label of packaged foods was key to understanding a food and we learned how those percents on packages related to our daily intake.

We also learned about managing our symptoms through (Lefort, et al, 45):

·      Redirecting my attention to control pain

·      Challenging negative thoughts that support pain

·      Cultivating more positive emotions

·      Developing relaxation techniques

·      Slowly increasing activity and reconditioning yourself

·      Learning pacing techniques

I thought that I understood all of these things but I learned the importance of keeping a pain diary. I also understand that even if pain sensations cannot be changed then I can change my reaction and responses to pain. This will help me experience a lessened sensation of pain and less anxiety yet help me to lead a more active life.

One of the most important aspects of this course was the inclusion of the CDs. I use the body scan CD to relax my whole body and would like to incorporate this daily. I was also surprised that the exercise CD was doable for anyone in any condition. Both CDs connected to the text and were written in words to follow and the exercises were demonstrated in pictures. Both were very thorough and well presented. Throughout the weeks of the course we practiced each body scan and the exercises together!

I know that I always can learn more about pain management and have signed up for another course to build on what I have learned. I will also continue to incorporate what I have learned, start a pain diary, and work to manage my symptoms from what the knowledge that I have gained.

 I would recommend this course to all your patients suffering from chronic pain. I cannot put into words how much this course has meant to me. Not only from being tailored to my own specific needs, the excellent techniques but also for the social aspect and comradery experienced in this learning journey.

 Thank you Dr. Cook, for recommending this course to me!

Beverly Reidy” 

Lefort, Sandra M., et al. Living a Healthy Life With Chronic Pain. Bull Publishing Company: Boulder, Colorado. 2015.

 Your Tool Kit ForActive Living With Chronic Pain. Bull Publishing Company and the Self-Management Resource Center. 2020.

If you’d like to learn more about the free programs available from the Cambridge Food Bank, contact Chai at 519-572-9359 or email cmaybhate@cambridgefoodbank.org.

Grandparents/Kin Support – Why is our group important?


Navigating the complexities of raising grandchildren or supporting kin can be an incredibly challenging journey. For many grandparents and kin caregivers, finding a support system is not just helpful; it’s essential. In this blog post, we’ll explore the significance of a peer support group dedicated to grandparents and kin, why it matters, and the multitude of ways it benefits both older adults and the children they care for.

1. Building Relationships:

One of the most crucial aspects of this peer support group is the opportunity it provides for grandparents and kin caregivers to build relationships. The bond between grandparents and grandchildren is special, but it’s not always easy to maintain, especially in complex situations.  This group offers a platform for these families to connect, share experiences, and strengthen their relationships.

2. You Are Not Alone:

The feeling of isolation can be overwhelming for grandparents and kin caregivers. This group reassures them that they are not alone in their journey. Sharing stories, challenges, and triumphs with others who understand their unique circumstances can be incredibly comforting. Knowing that there’s a community of support can make all the difference.

3. Peer-to-Peer Support and Lived Experiences:

Grandparents and kin caregivers are able to tap into a vast pool of wisdom and experience within the group. Peer-to-peer support allows them to gain insights from others who have walked similar paths. Learning from lived experiences can be invaluable, offering practical advice and emotional support.

4. Support Topics Covered:

The group covers a wide range of topics to address the unique challenges faced by grandparents and kin caregivers, including:

  • Stress: Strategies for managing the stress that can come with caregiving.
  • Trauma: Coping with past traumas or helping children who have experienced trauma.
  • Fears: Addressing the fears and anxieties of both older adults and the children in their care.
  • Addictions: Dealing with addiction issues within the family.
  • Supports: Identifying and accessing available support systems.
  • Needs: Meeting the unique needs of both older adults and the children.
  • Mental Health: Caring for one’s mental health and that of the children.
  • Independence: Fostering independence in children while ensuring their safety and well-being.

7. Fun Activities:

It’s not all about addressing challenges and difficulties. The group also emphasizes the importance of fun and enjoyment. Some of the fun activities included in these programs are:

  • Special Guests: Inviting experts or motivational speakers to inspire and educate the group.
  • Two Outings: Organizing two outings to explore new places or simply have a change of scenery.
  • Monthly Fun Activities: Engaging in various activities, such as arts and crafts, games, etc. to promote bonding and relaxation.

The importance of a peer support group for grandparents and kin caregivers cannot be overstated. It offers a lifeline, a community of like-minded individuals who understand the unique challenges and joys of their situation. By addressing a wide range of topics, providing emotional support, and promoting fun and togetherness, this group is truly making a difference in the lives of those it serves.

Cooking & Connecting with Chai and the Cambridge Food Bank

We live in a world that is increasingly isolated and disconnected. With the rise of social media and digital technology, it’s easy to forget the importance of human connection and the benefits that come with being part of a community. That’s why we want to take a moment to acknowledge the work that Chai is doing at the Cambridge Food Bank.

Chai runs an incredible program that not only helps people connect with each other but also teaches them how to make low-cost nutrient-dense snacks and meals.

Here are 5 reasons why engaging with others within your community through activities like cooking can be so beneficial:

  1. Community building: Activities like cooking with others can help you build relationships and connect with people in your community. This sense of connection and belonging is crucial for our mental and emotional well-being.

  2. Learning new skills: Participating in cooking activities can help you learn new skills and techniques, as well as gain knowledge about healthy eating and nutrition.

  3. Nutrition: Cooking with others can be a great way to prepare healthy, cost-effective meals as everyone can contribute their knowledge and experience. 

  4. Fun and enjoyable: Cooking with others can be a fun and enjoyable activity, especially when you are working together towards a common goal. It can help you feel more relaxed, engaged, and fulfilled.

  5. Improved mental health: Engaging in activities with others has been shown to improve mental health outcomes, such as reducing stress and increasing feelings of happiness and well-being.

Participant Creations

Participant Testimonials

We’ve heard great testimonials from the participants of the adult programming here at the Cambridge Food Bank. We encourage everyone to take advantage of opportunities to engage with others within their community, whether it’s through cooking or other activities.

Have questions or would like to register?  Contact Chai at 519-622-6550 ext 220 or cmaybhate@cambridgefoodbank.org

Molly’s Gluten-Free and Lactose-Free Pancakes

Deliciously Made with Lentils and Rice for a Healthier Breakfast Option

We recently received a wonderful review from one of our program participants at Cambridge Food Bank, Molly. After taking part in our Wellness program, Molly was able to create a delicious and healthy meal for her entire family using the raw lentils and rice from our resource bag.

 Chai….You have shown me an amazing way of living healthily on a budget”

Molly soaked the lentils and rice and used the batter to make crepes with no oil, yeast, or sugar. Her whole family loved the meal, and Molly was thrilled with her experiment. Not only was the meal tasty, but it was also protein-rich and cost only $3-6 for a family of four!

This is just one example of the many benefits of our Wellness programs. We aim to provide participants with the knowledge and resources they need to create healthy and nutritious meals that support food restrictions and dietary needs. Our program emphasizes the use of affordable and accessible ingredients, such as raw lentils and rice, to help participants save money and reduce food waste.

By taking part in our Wellness program, participants like Molly can gain the skills and confidence they need to make healthy choices for themselves and their families. Whether you’re looking to create a low-budget meal or adhere to specific dietary restrictions, our program can provide you with the knowledge and tools to do so.

So why not give our Wellness program a try? You never know what delicious and healthy meal you’ll create next!


Have questions or would like to register?  Contact Chai at 519-622-6550 ext 220 or cmaybhate@cambridgefoodbank.org

4 Budget-Friendly Tips On Eating Healthy With Diabetes

Living with diabetes can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. If you’re feeling stressed out about choosing the right foods for your Diabetes-friendly diet because you’ve got limited funds to spend at the grocery store, read on for 4 budget-friendly tips on eating healthy with Diabetes.

Make a List Before You Shop

The next time you go grocery shopping, take the time to make a list. It’s common knowledge that shopping with a list saves you time and money in the store. This is because you aren’t as likely to make impulse purchases when you’re shopping from a list. Making fewer impulse buys also means you’re more likely to stick to the healthy foods that are on your list.

Buy Healthy Foods On-Sale & Freeze

One great tip is to buy the more expensive – but healthy – foods in bulk when they go on sale. Then prepare and freeze it at home for future use. It’s a great way to save money while ensuring you get the most bang for your buck at the store. And don’t sweat it – your frozen fruits & veggies retain their goodness in the freezer because they’re frozen at their ideal ripeness. Plus you can wait for weeks or months before you use them and reduce the waste of uneaten food. It’s a win-win for your health and your wallet.

Pre-Plan & Prepare Your Meals At Home

One important way to eat healthy with Diabetes is to pre-plan and prepare your meals ahead of time at home. This will save you money and you’ll be less likely to opt for less-than-healthy take-out food options when you’re hungry. Because eating healthy meals when you have Diabetes is so important, eating fast food often can seriously impact your health.

You can also buy fresh fruits, vegetables and meats and cut them up at home. This will save you money, versus buying the pre-cut foods at the supermarket.

Plan Your Leftovers

When you make too much food, you’re going to have leftovers. But that’s not a bad thing! Leftovers can be used in all sorts of creative recipes that won’t aggravate your Diabetes.

If you cook too much healthy food, you can reallocate that extra lean chicken breast or soup for another meal the next day or even later in the week. Freeze extra foods and get creative with healthy recipes that can utilize the additional food you have left over from today’s meal.

Eating healthy can be expensive if you’re not careful while shopping, but with a little planning ahead you can reign in your food budget and achieve your healthy-eating goals. Take some time this week to sit down, make a list, and plan out your Diabetes-friendly meals for the week. Your body (and your doctor) will thank you. Just don’t forget to splurge on healthy treats every now and then too, because you deserve it!